Yesterday was a beautiful day. Started off cold and crisp, and bright and sunny and my son and I headed off to Junior parkrun full of excitement and with a spring in our steps to enjoy the sunshine. The leaves are just starting to turn and the park looked so pretty and by the time we started to run, it was surprisingly warm. The last gasp of summer in October! As he is only 4, bless him, junior park run for us is more a fun thing, with lots of walk breaks, and chasing and racing from tree to tree and playing tag. He adores sprinting over the finish line though, and yesterday he was much faster than usual because he had a batman t shirt on!
He runs the 2km (1.5mile) course in times ranging from 18-20 minutes. Some of the over 10s at junior parkrun are amazing and finish in 7 minutes! My aim is not to push him into running or being competitive at all at this age. To me it's just important that he enjoys some physical activity and being outside, and it's nice to enjoy it together.
After dropping him at home I was off on my own run with my running buddy and by 10.30am it was positively tropical out! Such a nice sunny day for a run. As usual we went out all excited and feeling great, and went off far too fast (10m30s per mile!) so by mile 2 I was really out of puff! We had a plan to run for about 45 minutes, and we had said we would go slow and take it easy but we start talking and just speed up and even when we tell each other to slow down we do and then forget and speed up again!
It's good for me though, as if I ran on my own I would plod and never push myself. With Michelle I push myself to keep up with her.
After mile 3 my hip started to niggle again :( we kept going but decided not to push for an extra little loop around a park we like, and head back for home, with a plan of running for 40 minutes instead of 45. In the end we completed 6kms (3.75 miles) in 40 minutes and I was happy with that as it was faster than my usual pace, given that I hadn't run for a whole week and was recovering... however by the end my hip and butt cheek was very unhappy. I spent the day stretching and hoping this wouldn't turn into something serious.
However my biggest issue at the moment is that when this happens, I'm afraid to tell my husband, because he's so negative about me running that he will use it as an excuse to try to put me off running.
Likewise, I had not told him that I had an appointment booked in with a physio this morning....
Fast forward (through coffee shops, cooking, homework, mowing the lawn and Downton Abbey) to today (Monday) ... After the school run I had my appointment with a physiotherapist who specialises in sports and had been recommended to me by other runners.
He was brilliant! He obviously sees a lot of people with similar issues and was really positve. He concluded what I had an inkling of myself - that I lack good muscle strength in my body and in particular the muscles in my hips and thighs and bum that are the main controller of running, lack strength. This is fine if I just keep running comfortably up to 5-6kms but once running regular 10kms and more, my muscles are struggling as they don't have the strength to keep me going for runs over an hour without causing pain.
He showed me how, as a result, my knees are bowing in, to over compensate for the tightness and strain those muscles are feeling which is in turn making the hip hurt more, slowing me down, causing me to waste energy. After lots of questions, watching me stand, walk, stand on one leg, bend my knees, touch my toes etc, then he spent about 20 minutes manipulating the muscles in my right thigh, hip and bum to try and loosen up the muscles. It was EXTREMELY painful! But, it helped a lot, the mobility in that leg and hip improved immensely as a result by the end of the session.
He then took me through two exercises that I have to do twice every day for the next 6 days to start to build up my strength. He also thankfully said I should NOT stop running, but just stick to 3mile runs for the next week, as that is the point at which it starts to suffer.
His theory is that with perhaps 3 sessions with him and 6 weeks of exercises (and he said he will change and add more exercises each week), my hips will be a lot stronger, I will be able to run longer without pain, and ultimately run better with less after effect.
Very interesting talking to him and I'm feeling more positive now about tackling the half marathon next month. Just have to make sure I do these exercises twice a day now! Oh, those exercises if you're interested are:
Single leg bridge, 10sec Left, 10 sec right x 10
Side leg race (lying on left, raising right leg) hold for 30seconds x 10
And finally... last night, running buddy Michelle sent me a plan for our longer runs for Norwich. Our aim is to get up to 12 miles before then. So off we go!